Solved: measure execution time

Measuring Execution Time in Java is a routine task for many developers. This is crucial in order to evaluate the performance of your code, identify bottlenecks, and optimize its efficiency. It’s especially important when developing time-sensitive applications where performance can directly impact user experience.

It’s essential to understand the key aspects of time measurement in Java and to utilize the right libraries and functions, as incorrect usage can lead to inaccurate results. Let’s explore how to measure execution time accurately.

Understanding System.nanoTime and System.currentTimeMillis

One of the most common methods used for measuring execution time in Java is by using the System class’s currentTimeMillis() and nanoTime() functions.

The System.currentTimeMillis() method returns the current time in milliseconds from the Epoch (January 1, 1970, 00:00:00 GMT). It’s simple to use but has a lower precision.

long start = System.currentTimeMillis();

// your code here

long end = System.currentTimeMillis();
System.out.println("Execution time in milliseconds: " + (end - start));

On the other hand, System.nanoTime() offers higher precision and measures the time in nanoseconds.

long start = System.nanoTime();

// your code here

long end = System.nanoTime();
System.out.println("Execution time in nanoseconds: " + (end - start));

Working with the Java Time API

Another option for measuring execution time in Java is using the Java Time API, part of Java 8 and above. This API is useful when we need more granular control over date and time calculations.

The Instant class can be used to capture the current timestamp and measure the execution time.

Instant start =;

// your code here

Instant end =;
System.out.println("Execution time in milli seconds: " + Duration.between(start, end).toMillis());

Guava Stopwatch Utility

The Guava library from Google includes a handy utility class for timing tasks called Stopwatch. It’s simple and straightforward to use and provides a high-precision timer.

Stopwatch stopwatch = Stopwatch.createStarted();

// your code here

stopwatch.stop(); // optional
System.out.println("Execution time in nanoseconds: " + stopwatch.elapsed(TimeUnit.NANOSECONDS));

By understanding and using these functions and libraries, one can accurately measure execution time and make appropriate adjustments to improve code performance in Java. It’s important to remember that these methods only provide wall-clock timing (actual elapsed time), and for most precise results consider factors like CPU time, context switching, garbage collection, and JVM warm-up phase.

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